Historic Markers Across Florida

Vietnam War 1954-1975

Marker ID:  
Location: in Veterans Memorial Park along the waterfront, Seminole Blvd, Sanford, FL
County: Seminole
Coordinates: N 28° 48.915    W 081° 16.086
  28.81525    -81.2681
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMQ6KG


The Vietnam War began when Vietnamese nationalists ended one hundred years of colonial rule by forcing the French out of the country. The 1954 Geneva Peace Accords divided the country into North and South Vietnam to separate the opposing groups seeking control of the government. In 1961, President John Kennedy's administration began sending advisers into South Vietnam to train and arm the local population to halt the advance of the Communist forces of the north. The war escalated under President Lyndon Johnson and President Richard Nixon, with major battles in the late 1960s, and early 1970s. The war also spread to the neighboring countries of Laos and Cambodia. In January 1973, the Paris Peace Agreement brought an end to American involvement in the war. Fighting continued among the Vietnamese and South Vietnam fell to Communist forces in 1975. More than 58,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam, including 14 men from Sanford.

Sanford native Capt. Terry Cordell, of the US Army Special Forces, served as an advisor to the indigenous Montagnard people of Vietnam. He was killed when his helicopter was shot down in 1962.

Naval Air Station Sanford was active during Vietnam until the closing of the base in 1968 when operations were moved to Albany, Georgia. The land was deeded back to the City of Sanford and today it is the site of the Orlando Sanford International Airport.

Nine Vigilante pilots and Naval flight officers from Naval Air Station Sanford were held as prisoners of war in North Vietnam.

The supersonic North American A3J Vigilante arrived in Sanford in 1961. This heavy attack bomber was converted to use as a high speed photographic reconnaissance aircraft for pre-target and battle damage assessment in enemy territory during the Vietnam War. All Vigilantes in the United States flew out of Sanford.

City of Sanford